Questions have begun to emerge here as to who actually holds the largest political base in Lofa County ahead of the 2017 Presidential and General Elections, as highly cultural dictates interplay with conventional politics for the show of loyalty to political leaders from the predominantly cultural-driven northern county.
Two key actors now on the stage are Liberty Party’s Senator Atty. Steve Zargo, who lifts up Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine’s hands to his Lofa constituent for Presidential support against his kinsman Vice President Joseph NyumahBoakai, already petitioned by the county to vie for the presidency.
Ahead of the Liberty Party’s recent convention of which Senator Zargo was a part in Lofa County, the Senator had attended an appreciation visit paid to the county in May by Vice President Boakai during which the ruling UP’s second-in-command received a petition to contest the presidency in 2017.
At these two separate political gatherings held in May and June, huge crowds turned out first for Boakai’s petitioning, and also for LP’s Cllr. Brumskine after being elected political leader for his party.
What seems clearly to be a divided loyalty has emerged as Senator Zargo, who claims to be sensitive of the traditional authority of his people and could not dare the wishes of his uncles of the Kissi tribe that petitioned Ambassador Boakai for the presidency; yet insists that he fully remains a clear supporter of Brumskine’s Presidential bid.
“Again like I said, the fact that I work with Liberty Party – the most recent, speaks volume. I didn’t only go there; I didn’t hold the Vice President hand. In Lofa County when I went with Cllr. Brumskine, I held his hands. I formed part of the convention. I was even tipped to be the conventional chairperson,” Senator Zargo told the Super Morning Show at LBS Wednesday, July 8 in Paynesville.
He argues, “It depends where you want to find yourself” in deciding between conventional politics and tradition to determine which of them supersedes the other.
To demonstrate his stewardship within the Liberty Party, Senator Zargo says he recently got elected at the LP convention in Lofa as Vice Chairman for Legislative Affairs.
“And more besides, I have thought that Unity Party, since she claims to have Lofa County could have been a little bit sensitive and realize you have a young man called Steve Zargo. With the level of work we did, let us bring him on board. I didn’t necessarily have to ask them,” he said.
Zargo, perceived by many of his kinsmen as a center of attraction in Lofa politics, says since 2003, he has been working on the grounds in Lofa, but the ruling Unity Party of Mr. Boakai did not chose another candidate over him.
He could not fully attribute his 2014 victory to LP; rather he says his election to the Senate was “first and foremost” based on God’s blessings, parental guidance and what he did in the county.
For Vice President Boakai, his ruling Unity Party has since divided support since he was petitioned, except for its political leader President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who prefers one-on-one talks with him. By Winston W. Parley – Editing Jonathan Browne